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Long work hours linked to alcohol abuse: study

Long working hours can more than triple the risk of alcohol abuse and addiction, New Zealand research has found.

An Otago University study of more than 1,000 people aged 25-30 found a statistically significant link between the amount of hours worked and alcohol abuse.

"Individuals working 50 or more hours per week had rates of alcohol-related problems that were 1.8 to 3.3 times higher than those for individuals who were not employed," study leader Sheree Gibb said.

The research, to be published in the British peer-reviewed journal "Addiction", found the figures were similar for males and females.

Gibb said increased alcohol abuse among those who worked long hours might be an attempt to reduce stress associated with their jobs.

She also suggested that social contact with workmates might make people more likely to abuse alcohol.

"Individuals who work longer hours may have more social contact with co-workers, and workplaces where long hours are commonplace may experience a more sociable atmosphere that involves a greater level of alcohol use," she said.

Gibb said the study showed there was a need for anti-alcohol abuse programs targeting people who worked long hours.